How popular is the baby name Charles in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Charles and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Charles.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Charles

Number of Babies Named Charles

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Charles

The Namesakes of Huey P. Long

Huey on Time, Apr. 1935

Yesterday’s name, Broderick, was popularized by a movie based on the life of populist politician Huey P(ierce) Long, nicknamed “The Kingfish,” who served as Governor of Louisiana (1928-1932), U.S. Senator (1932-1935), and was gearing up for a presidential run in 1935. At that time…

Long’s Senate office was flooded with thousands of letters daily, prompting him to hire 32 typists, who worked around the clock to respond to the fan mail. As the nation’s third most photographed man (after FDR and celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh), Long was recognized from coast to coast simply as “Huey.”

He never ran for president, though, because he was assassinated in September of 1935.

So how did Long’s his political rise (and sudden death) affect the usage of the baby name Huey?

In April of 1929, newspapers reported that, since the gubernatorial election the previous May, “Governor Long has presented a [silver] cup to every baby in the state which is made his namesake. He says there are now are 90 “Huey P’s” and he believes the total will run well over 200 before his term of office expires.”

According to the SSA’s baby name data, the national usage of Huey spiked twice: the year Long was elected governor, and the year he was killed. Notice how much of the usage happened in Huey’s home state of Louisiana:

Year U.S. boys named Huey Louisiana boys named Huey
1937 214 boys [rank: 378th] 95 boys (44% of U.S. usage) [rank: 50th]
1936 353 boys [288th] 153 boys (43%) [30th]
1935 494 boys [237th] 202 boys (41%) [14th]
1934 187 boys [403rd] 86 boys (46%) [48th]
1933 154 boys [447th] 66 boys (43%) [67th]
1932 144 boys [480th] 76 boys (53%) [61st]
1931 162 boys [443rd] 98 boys (60%) [39th]
1930 174 boys [447th] 119 boys (68%) [37th]
1929 194 boys [424th] 146 boys (75%) [26th]
1928 215 boys [411th] 159 boys (74%) [22nd]
1927 114 boys [579th] 62 boys (54%) [75th]
1926 62 boys [840th] 22 boys (35%) [179th]

Huey P. Long was named after his father. He had nine siblings: brothers Julius, George and Earl (who also served as governor of Louisiana) and sisters Charlotte, Clara, Helen, Lucille, and Olive. Speedy Long was a cousin.

Sources:

Image: Senator Huey P. Long © 1935 Time

Baby Named for Michael Landon

Actress Melissa Gilbert is probably best known for portraying young Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series Little House on the Prairie (1974–1984). Her TV father, Charles, was played by actor Michael Landon.

In October of 1995, Melissa and her second husband welcomed a son (12 weeks early). He was named Michael Garrett — “Michael” in honor of Michael Landon, who had died of cancer in 1991, and “Garrett” in honor of the deceased teenage son of family friends.

Landon’s birth name was Eugene Maurice Orowitz. His nickname in primary school was “Ooogy.” He chose his stage name by flipping through a phone book.

Sources:

The Debut of Devy

Devy Barnett, Ted Mack, television, 1960
Devy on ‘The Original Amateur Hour‘ in May, 1960

The baby name Devy popped up in the SSA’s data a single time, in 1960. But it wasn’t just any old one-hit wonder — it was the top one-hit wonder of 1960. In fact, Devy was one of the top one-hit wonders of all time, with over two dozen baby girls being named Devy that year:

  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 27 baby girls named Devy [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

So where did it come from?

A soprano named Devy Barnett who performed on the TV talent competition Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour at least once, on May 16, 1960. (She may have appeared on other episodes that year as well, I’m not sure.)

I don’t have much information on Devy. She was a music student at Rutgers in the early ’50s, she put out her first recording (Songs of Charles Ives, released by Stereo Age) in 1958, and in the ’80s she was a member of the studio music faculty at Cal State. She married at least twice, and had several children.

But she never achieved fame. Apparently not many Amateur Hour contestants did, with a few notable exceptions: Gladys Knight, Pat Boone, Ann-Margret, Tanya Tucker, and Irene Cara (see the posts on Fame and Sparkle for more on Irene).

The name Devy reminds me of the name Eydie in that both names were put on the onomastic map by young singers making television appearances. (Coincidentally, Eydie was also given to exactly 27 baby girls in 1960.)

What are your thoughts on the name Devy? Do you like it?

Name Quotes #56: Albert, Arthur, Otterly

sex and the city, movie quote, name quote

From the 2010 movie Sex and the City 2, characters Carrie and Aidan talk about Aidan’s three sons:

Carrie: “My god, three?”
Aidan: “Homer, Wyatt, Tate.”
Carrie: “Sounds like a country music band.”

From a Telegraph article about creative baby names by Flic Everett (born a Johanna, later changed to Felicity):

Very unusual names can, [psychotherapist Christophe Sauerwein] says, make a child stand out for the wrong reasons. “I have a patient aged ten, named Otterly,” he says (spelling it out, in case I confuse it with Ottilie, which now features regularly in Telegraph birth announcements). “It’s a very unusual name and she’s bullied about it. As a parent, you can love a name, but come on, think twice. Is it embarrassing? Will she have a lifetime of explaining herself to everyone she meets?”

From a Pop Sugar article about the naming Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s sons:

When Diana gave birth to her first son in June 1982, he was given the name William Arthur Philip Louis; two years later, Prince Harry was christened Henry Charles Albert David. In a recorded interview that would go on to be published in the controversial 1992 book Diana: Her Story by Andrew Morton, Diana admitted that she picked the first names for both of her newborn sons after nixing the ones Charles had in mind. When asked, “Who chose [Harry’s] name?,” Diana said, “I did,” adding, “I chose William and Harry, but Charles did the rest.” She went on: “He wanted Albert and Arthur, and I said no. Too old!”

From a biography of English actress Ellen Terry (1847-1928):

“Ellen Terry is the most beautiful name in the world; it rings like a chime through the last quarter of the nineteenth century,” George Bernard Shaw wrote of the Dame when she was at the height of her career.

From a Washington Post article about Korean companies forcing workers to go by English names:

The norm in South Korea is to call your colleagues or superiors not by their given names but by their positions. It’s the same for addressing your older friends or siblings, your teacher or any person on the street. So if your family name is Johnson and you were to be hired in a Korean company as a manager, your co-workers would call you “Johnson-boojang.” To get the attention of your older female friend, you would call for “eunni,” or “older sister.”

[…]

One popular Korean blog was more explicit on shirking honorifics in the workplace: “Dropping your pants and [urinating] in the person’s briefcase would be only a little ruder than calling him/her by his/her first name.”

From the abstract of a study looking at passenger discrimination by transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft (found via Baby Name Wizard):

In Boston, we observed discrimination by Uber drivers via more frequent cancellations against passengers when they used African American-sounding names. Across all trips, the cancellation rate for African American sounding names was more than twice as frequent compared to white sounding names.

From a 2016 Elle interview with comedian Alexandra “Ali” Wong in which Ali talks about her baby:

What’s her name?

Mari, inspired by my hero Marie Kondo, who wrote The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She’s really wonderful, is very into eye contact, and has forced me to be a lot more present. It’s hard to be anxious about the future or depressed about the past when your baby does an explosive poo that somehow ends up in the feet part of her pajamas.

From a New York Times essay about Turkish-American names by Eren Orbey:

Had my mother, Neşe (pronounced neh-sheh), not already published articles under her birth name, she probably would have changed it upon naturalization. Lately, to avoid confusion, she has taken to introducing herself simply as “N,” which her accent converts into an American name. People hear “Anne,” and that is what they call her.

At the start of the essay, Eren mentions that his mother’s name means “joy” in Turkish.

Want to see more quotes about names? Check out the name quotes category.

The 24 Children of Isaac Singer

isaac singer
Isaac Singer: businessman & baby-daddy
A reader got in touch recently to ask about several unusual names. One of them was “Vouletti,” which belonged to a daughter of Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875).

Isaac Singer is best remembered for his successful sewing machine manufacturing company, founded in 1851 and still going strong today. Also notable, though, is the fact that he had a total of 24 children with five different wives and mistresses.

With Maria Haley, he had two children:

  • William Adam (b. 1834)
  • Lillian C. (b. 1837)

With Mary Ann Sponsler, he had ten children:

  • Isaac Augustus (b. 1837)
  • Vouletti Theresa (b. 1840)
  • Fanny Elizabeth (b. 1841)
  • John Albert (b. circa 1843)
  • Jasper Hamet (b. 1846)
  • Julia Ann (b. circa 1847)
  • Mary Olivia (b. 1848)
  • Charles Alexander (1850-1852)
  • Caroline Virginia (b. 1857)
  • …plus one more

With Mary McGonigal, he had five children:

  • Ruth
  • Clara
  • Florence
  • Margaret
  • Charles Alexander (b. 1859)

With Mary E. Walters, he had one child:

  • Alice Eastwood (b. 1852)

With Isabella Eugenie Boyer (of France), he had six children:

  • Adam Mortimer (b. 1863)
  • Winnaretta Eugenie (b. 1865)
  • Washington Merritt Grant (b. 1866)
  • Paris Eugene (b. 1867) – Palm Beach developer, namesake of Singer Island
  • Isabelle Blanche (b. 1869)
  • Franklin Morse (b. 1870)

These are traditional names for the most part, which makes “Vouletti” all the more intriguing.

Vouletti Singer was born in 1840, married William Proctor in 1862, had three children, and died in 1913. Though her name was definitely spelled Vouletti — that’s the spelling passed down to various descendants, and the one used by her friend Mercedes de Acosta in the poem “To Vouletti” — I found it misspelled a lot: “Voulitti” on the 1855 New York State Census, “Voulettie” on the 1900 U.S. Census, “Voulettie” again in a Saturday Evening Post article from 1951.

So…where does it come from?

I have no clue. I can’t find a single person with the given name Vouletti who predates Vouletti Singer. I also can’t find anyone with the surname Vouletti. (There was a vaudevillian with the stage name “Eva Vouletti,” but she doesn’t pop up until the early 1900s.)

Theater could be a possibility, as Isaac Singer was an actor in his younger days. Perhaps Vouletti was a character name he was familiar with?

My only other idea is the Italian word violetti, which means “violet.” Her parents might have coined the name with this word in mind.

Do you have any thoughts/theories about the unusual name Vouletti?